Skip to main content

Full text of "The Rise of the Nazi Dictatorship and its Relationship with the Mormon Church in Germany"

See other formats

International Journal of 
Mormon Studies 

Volume 3 
Spring 2010 

Publication Details 


David M. Morris 
Editorial Board 

Zachary R. Jones 
Kim B. Ostman 

The International ]ournal of Mormon Studies is a European based 
internationally focused, peer-reviewed online and printed scholarly 
journal, which is committed to the promotion of interdisciplinary schol- 
arship by publishing articles and reviews of current work in the field of 
Mormon studies. With high quality international contributors, the jour- 
nal explores Mormon studies and its related subjects. In addition, IJMS 
provides those who submit manuscripts for publication with useful, 
timely feedback by making the review process constructive. To submit a 
manuscript or review, including book reviews please email them for con- 
sideration in the first instance to 

International Journal of Mormon Studies (Print) ISSN 1757-5532 
International Journal of Mormon Studies (Online) ISSN 1757-5540 

Published in the United Kingdom. 

©2010 International Journal of Mormon Studies 
All rights reserved. 
http:/ / 

The Rise of the Nazi Dictatorship 
and its Relationship with the Mormon Church in 
Germany, 1933-1939 

Steve Carter 

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist 
party came to power and began to establish a dictatorship in Germany. It 
was the Nazis' intent to control all facets of life in the Third Reich in- 
cluding the institutional church. The relationship between the regime 
and the German religious community is complex and controversial. Al- 
though Hitler early on assured the churches that Christianity was 
welcomed in the Reich, 1 the Nazis soon launched a campaign against it. 
Through a concordat, the German dictator was able to neutralize the 
Catholic Church. And, aided by the pro-Nazi "German Christians," 
Hitler went a long way in coordinating the Evangelical Church with 
party aims. Nazi policy toward the smaller Christian denominations was 
ad hoc. The Nazis sought to control 2 and eventually eliminate these reli- 
gious bodies, yet generally tolerated the ones deemed beneficial to party 
aims. Eventually, many small, non-traditional religions 4 were banned, 
while the "Free Churches," primarily Baptists and Methodists, were al- 
lowed to function because Hitler thought they could be useful to his 

1 Ernst Christian Helmreich, The German Churches Under Hitler: Background, 
Struggle, and Epilogue (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979), pp. 128- 

2 The Nazis controlled Germany through their policy of Gleichschaltung or coor- 
dination/regimentation to Party aims. 

3 Christine Elizabeth King, "Strategies for Survival: An Examination of the 
History of Five Christian Sects in Germany 1933-45," Journal of Contemporary 
History 14 (1979), 211; Christine Elizabeth King, The Nazi State and the New 
Religions (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1982), p. 20. 

4 Usually the small, non-traditional religions in Germany are referred to as 
"sects," which carries a pejorative connotation in German. 

King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, pp. 19-20; King, "Strategies for 
Survival," 211. King argues that such considerations were based on the de- 
nomination's use as a propaganda tool, its wealth and influence and the 
amount of trouble that would be caused abroad if the denomination were per- 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


The relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints and the Nazi regime was also complex. At no time during the 
1930s was the Mormon Church banned in the Reich; however, it was 
not completely welcomed either. To be sure, Mormons were affected by 
Nazi anti-religious policies. This paper will review and analyze the rela- 
tionship and interaction between the LDS Church and the Third Reich. 
I argue that Nazi harassment of the Mormons was sporadic and based 
primarily on the whims of local party officials rather than any formalized 
national policy. In the end, the Nazi course of action regarding the Lat- 
ter-day Saints was similar to the regime's policy toward the Free 
Churches; the Party tolerated Mormons because it believed the LDS 
could be useful. 

The Rise of Hitler and the Formulation of LDS Policy 

Prior to World War I the spread of Mormonism in Germany 
had been slow. During the 1920s, however, the denomination enjoyed 
impressive growth throughout the country. In 1930 Mormonism claimed 
over 12,000 followers in Germany; by 1938 this number had passed 
13,000. This represented the largest pocket of Latter-day Saints outside 
the United States. Because of such success, Mormon leaders in the USA 
were optimistic about the Church in Germany well into the 1930s. 7 

By the middle of 1933, the Nazi regime had busied itself con- 
solidating power in Germany including implementing its policies toward 
the Catholics and Protestants. At this point, the Nazis began to investi- 
gate the smaller denominations including the Mormons. 8 

That summer, both LDS mission presidents— Francis Salzner of 
the Swiss-German mission and Oliver Budge of the German-Austrian 
mission— were confronted by Nazi authorities and asked to issue concise 
written statements regarding Mormon attitudes toward the Hitler re- 

See Table 10 in Jeffrey L. Anderson, "Mormons and Germany, 1914-1933: A 
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany and its 
Relationship with the German Governments from World War I to the Rise of 
Hitler" (M.A. Thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1991), pp. 214- 

7 Douglas F. Tobler and Alan F. Keele, "The Saints and the Reich: German 
Mormons under Hitler" (unpublished essay), pp. 3-4. Copy in author's posses- 

8 Douglas F. Tobler, "The Narrow Line: The Experiences of the American 
Mormon Missionaries in Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939" (unpublished essay), p. 
12. Copy in author's possession. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

gime. 9 Although Church leaders in Utah had advised the mission presi- 
dents to "get along" with government officials, they did not provide 
specifics on how to proceed. 10 As a result, Salzner and Budge, in written 
statements, had the unenviable task of formulating Church policy with 
regard to the German state. Their responses to the Nazi inquiries, which 
became the basis of Mormon policy toward the Third Reich, were nearly 
identical and will be examined together. 

The essence of the mission presidents' statements was to affirm 
the Church's spiritual mission. Salzner and Budge emphasized that, al- 
though Mormons considered themselves "apolitical," the Church taught 
its followers to be good and law-abiding citizens and to support the 
"powers that be" in accordance to the Church's Twelfth Article of 
Faith. 11 They stressed the Mormon belief in religious toleration 12 and 
asserted that the Church would not attack other denominations includ- 
ing the German Christians. Furthermore, the statements suggested that 
the Church's lay ministry and self-supporting missionary program 
brought foreign currency into Germany. 13 Finally, the mission presidents 
addressed values such as the family that were shared by both parties. 14 

9 For the text of the respective responses to the Gestapo, see Oliver Budge letter 
to State Secret Police office, 8 September 1933, in "German- Austrian Mission 
Quarterly Reports, 1930-1937," Archives, Historical Department of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, entry for 
"Visit of Secret Service Agent, (hereafter cited as "German-Austrian Quarterly 
Reports)," and "Ein Aufklarender Brief," Der Stern, 65 (15 July 1933), 214-218. 
See full text in Appendix A and Appendix B. 

10 Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 8. 

11 Or in other words whatever regime was in power at the time. Pearl of Great 
Price, Article of Faith 1:12. "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, 
rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." 

12 Pearl of Great Price, Article of Faith 1:11. "We claim the privilege of worship- 
ing Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow 
all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." 

13 John A. Dahl, "Book Review of Building Zion," typed manuscript, Archive MS 
15335, unpublished manuscript dated 14 October 1997, Archives, Historical 
Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 
Utah, comment #16, pp. 10-11. Dahl states that "Rudolph Noss ... President of 
the Frankfurt am Main LDS district ... after clearing with Francis Salzner 
armed with a briefcase full of all the pamphlets and the Standard Works then 
used in Germany met with the proper office of the Department of Culture and 
Education in Darmstadt, Hessen-Darmstadt. He invited them to study this 
material containing the principles of the gospel which our Elders were teaching 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


There were three goals the mission presidents sought to achieve. 
First, they wanted to "get along" with the Nazi regime and avoid con- 
frontations that could place the Mormon community in peril. Second, 
they sought to maintain the Church and its "gains" in Germany. Finally, 
mission leaders hoped to continue spreading the spiritual message of 
Mormonism through missionary activity. 15 The German mission leaders' 
policy was congruent with the prevailing Church accommodation policy 
toward secular government and the Twelfth Article of Faith established 
in 1890. 

Apparently, the mission presidents' statements satisfied Nazi au- 
thorities. There are no immediate reports of harassment of any kind. 
Commenting on conditions in Germany, the 21 October 1933 issue of 
the Salt Lake City Deseret News, Church Section, reported, "The Ger- 
man-Austrian mission has been left almost untouched by the revolution 
in Germany." 16 

Harassment of the Mormons 

Although Mormons escaped the initial persecution suffered by 
other denominations, they did not go unnoticed by Nazi authorities. As 
Hitler tightened his grip, the Gestapo kept vigil on all religious groups, 17 
including the Mormons. On occasion, Gestapo agents monitored LDS 
worship services, 18 interrogated branch and district presidents, or confis- 

freely to those interested in their message; and also to convince them that mem- 
bers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were admonished to be 
law-abiding citizens. He further pointed out that these American Elders would 
bring in sorely needed US dollars." (Italics added) 

14 See Appendix A and B. 

15 Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," pp. 6-7. 

16 Fay Ollorton, "A Visit to the German -Austrian Mission," Deseret News, 2 1 
October 1933, Church Section, p. 3. 

17 Eric A. Johnson, Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans (New 
York: Basic Books, 1999), p. 229; John S. Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the 
Churches, 1933-1945 (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1968), p. 69. 

18 Many German Mormons have discussed visits to church meetings by the 
Gestapo. See, for example, Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, Oral History, Interview by 
Steve Carter, 2 May 1998, Holladay, Utah, Tape Recording/Typescript, 1, Copy 
in author's possession; Inge Lang, Oral History, Interview by Steve Carter, 28 
June 1998, Bountiful, Utah, Tape Recording, Copy in author's possession; 
Dahl, "Book Review," comment, #14, pp. 9-10; John A. Dahl, Oral History, 
Interview by Steve Carter, 21 March 2000, Salt Lake City, Utah, Tape Re- 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

cated branch records. 19 Some requested a list of names of branch mem- 
bers accompanied by their political party affiliation. 20 In their effort to 
"get along," LDS leaders complied with these demands. 21 

A real concern for branch presidents, though, was that a mem- 
ber might say something that Gestapo agents would consider subversive. 
Local leaders and American missionaries cautioned their congregations 
about such dangers and reminded them to follow the Twelfth Article of 
Faith. 22 Because of these measures, the secret police was unable to detect 
anything "subversive" about Latter-day Saint meetings. 23 

cording/Typescript, p. 18, Copy in author's possession; Walter H. Speidel, Oral 
History, Interview by Steve Carter, Tape recording/Typescript, Provo, Utah, 30 
April 1998, p. 7, Copy in author's possession. Gestapo monitoring of Mormon 
meetings varied from place to place. Usually, a plain-clothed agent slipped in 
and sat quietly in the back of the church. Occasionally, he might solicit infor- 
mation about upcoming "sermons." In these cases, the branch president 
provided the agent with a list of scheduled speakers for the next couple of 
weeks. In some branches, Gestapo agents attended meetings on a regular basis, 
and a few showed some congeniality with Church members. In other areas, 
there were few Gestapo visits. One German branch president recalled only one 
encounter with the Gestapo and that the agent left satisfied with what he found. 

19 Both the Swiss-German Mission Manuscript History and German-Austrian 
Mission Manuscript History detail incidents where Gestapo agents interrogated 
missionaries and branch presidents as well as confiscated branch records. 
Agents usually seized the documents, examined them for a space of several 
weeks and returned them without explanation to the local LDS leader. See 
"German-Austrian Mission Manuscript History," Archives, Historical Depart- 
ment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. 
Hereafter cited as "German-Austrian MSS History." See also "Swiss-German 
Mission Manuscript History, 1904-1938," Archives, Historical Department of 
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Hereafter 
cited as "Swiss-German MSS History." 

20 For instance, see "German-Austrian MSS History," entry for September 
1934. German-Austrian mission records state: "The president of the Zwickau 
District was requested by the police in Plauen to furnish them with a list of the 
members of his district, and to inform them as to the party membership of each 
political party." (Italics added) 

21 Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 15. 

22 Speidel, Oral Interview, 30 April 1998, p. 2; Walter H. Speidel, Oral History, 
Interview by Steve Carter, Tape recording/Typescript, Provo, Utah, 1 May 
1998, p. 7. 

23 "Swiss-German MSS History" entry for January 1934. "The Police in Ger- 
many investigated our case in many branches but apparently did not come to 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Elimination of the LDS Scouting Organization 

On the national level, Mormons did not experience any pressure 
from the regime until 1934. In 1933, Hitler had begun the process of 
dissolving youth organizations or incorporating them into the Hitler 
Youth including the Boy Scouts. 24 In early March 1934, Nazi authorities 
notified Mormon officials to incorporate the LDS Scouting program 25 
into the Hitler Youth or to disband. For several weeks, Mormon youth 
leaders corresponded with government officials pleading their case for 
maintaining the program. 26 Throughout the correspondence, Mormon 
Scouts continued to function and carry out their activities. 27 Finally, 
under duress, and desiring to "remain in harmony with" the Nazi re- 

any conclusions about us as no further steps were taken to stop out missionary 

24 One of Hitler's goals was to indoctrinate German youth in Nazi values which 
meant control of education and youth organizations. 

21 In Germany, the Boy Scouts had grown rapidly after its founding in 1911, 
and by 1914, it numbered over 80,000 members. Scouting attracted many Ger- 
man Mormon youths in part because of the Church's sponsorship of the 
organization in the United States. In 1911, the LDS Church endorsed Scouting 
in the US and shortly thereafter adopted it in Germany. Mormon authorities in 
Europe believed the Boy Scouts could strengthen the LDS youth and bring 
others into contact with their religion. By the 1930s, the Mormon Church had 
become a primary sponsor of the German Scout Association. By the end of 
1933, the regime had eliminated all Scouting organizations except the two affili- 
ated with the Mormon missions in Germany. At the time, according to mission 
records, there were 33 local Scout troops in the Swiss-German Mission alone. 
The German-Austrian Mission reported that over 150 teen-aged boys were 
registered in Scouts in that mission with another 100 youth who were involved 
in Scouting activities but were not registered. See Lawrence D. Walker, Hitler 
Youth and Catholic Youth, 1933-1936: A Study in Totalitarian Conquest, (Washing- 
ton D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1970), p. 8; "The Story of 
Scouting in the LDS Church," comp. LDS Relationships Boy Scouts of Amer- 
ica, (28 September 2000); Tobler, "The 
Narrow Line," p. 15; "German-Austrian Quarterly Report," entry for 30 June 
1934; "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for May, 1934; "German-Austrian 
Quarterly Report," entry for 30 June 1934. 

26 "German-Austrian Quarterly Report," entry for 30 June 1934. The German- 
Austrian Quarterly Report contains copies of the letter exchange of March and 
April, 1934. 

27 "German-Austrian MSS History," entry for 30 March 1934. The Scout 
troops from Weimar and Erfurt held a four-day outing. This is the last re- 
corded Scouting activity in Germany before the program was dissolved. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

gime, the Mormons acquiesced and dissolved its Scouting program on 
30 April 1934. 28 

The dissolution of the Scouting program sheds light on Mor- 
mon policy toward the Nazi regime. By abandoning the Scouts, the 
Mormons indicated their willingness to oblige the Nazis. Still, they hag- 
gled with the regime and then dissolved their troops rather than 
incorporate them into the Hitler Youth. The Mormons chose to accept 
their fate, 29 but in such a way as to avoid direct Party control over their 

There were also cases where Mormons were affected by the gen- 
eral prohibitions placed on all religions by the Nazi regime. In 1934, the 
National Socialists issued a decree that no denomination could use He- 
brew words such as "Israel", "Sabbath", "Zion"— words common in 
Mormon usage. 30 In keeping with the spirit of accommodation, Mor- 
mons throughout Germany complied with this decree. 31 The decree also 
led government officials to ban the book, The Articles of Faith by James 

28 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for May 1934; "German-Austrian 
Quarterly Report," entry for 30 June 1934. 

29 Although the LDS regretted the end of the Scouting program, many Mormon 
youngsters joined the Hitler Youth. Some became active participants in the Nazi 
organization and fondly recalled the experience. Other boys either did not par- 
ticipate or, under pressure, merely went through the motions. Of the latter, 
many found it difficult to attend Sunday church meetings; still others reported 
renewed harassment by the Hitler Youth. Mormon girls, too, joined the BDM 
(Bund Deutsche Model), the female counterpart to the Hitler Youth. And, as with 
the boys, they had mixed reactions to it. Some were active participants, others 
were not. See Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 13; Fred Gass- 
ner and Erich Bernhardt, Oral History, Interview by Justus Ernst, 8 June 1985, 
transcript, Archives, Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 26; Rudi Wobbe and Jerry Borrowman, 
Before the Blood Tribunal (Salt Lake City, UT: Covenant Communications, Inc., 
1992), pp. 7-8. 

30 "Chonik der Gemeinde Karlsruhe," comp. Karl Lutz, (Karlsruhe, Germany: 
Gemeinde Karlsruhe, Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage, 1997), 
p. 92. See also Doris L. Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in 
the Third Reich (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 
1996), pp. 165-171, on the German Christians and Jewish expressions in 
church hymns. 

31 Both mission presidents instructed members to avoid such terms in talks and 
to omit them from church hymns. See Dahl, Oral Interview, pp. 4-5 and Spei- 
del, Oral Interview, 30 April 1998, p. 4. 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


E. Talmage, because of its references to "Zion" and "Israel." 32 The Nazis 
also banned Church tracts, including "Gottliche Vollmacht" ("Divine 
Authority") and "Signs of the Great Apostasy" which, Party activists 
claimed, constituted an affront to their own power in Germany. 33 

Nazi officials were also concerned that foreign-based religions 
might drain the Reich of much-needed currency. 34 This concern led 
German authorities to monitor LDS financial activities, insist that LDS 
tithes remain in Germany, and confiscate donation records from 
branches. 35 In October 1934, as part of Finance Minister Hjalmar 
Schacht's new economic plan to control foreign exchange, 3 the govern- 
ment withdrew from the LDS missionaries the privilege of purchasing 
valuable "Registered Marks." 37 Although Mormons were not the primary 
target of this plan, German officials charged that the missionaries were 
not paying their own way. Schacht's policy had a profound impact on 
the Church forcing the missions to curtail many of their activities. 38 In 

32 "German-Austrian MSS History," entry 1 1 July 1936; Gilbert W. Scharffs, 
Mormonism in Germany: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
in Germany (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1970), p. 85. 

33 Kriminalpolizei Blatt no. 1751/54, in "Swiss-German MSS History," entry 
for January 1934. See also, "German-Austrian MSS History," entry for 5, 25 
and 29 January 1934. During the first week of January 1934 the police forbid 
any further distribution of "Gottliche Vollmacht" in Germany. In both mis- 
sions, the mission presidents complied with the order and had all copies of the 
tract either sent to the respective mission offices, turned over to the govern- 
ment officials or destroyed. 

34 In the mid- 1930s, for example, the regime banned the Christian Scientists 
from sending proceeds from the sale of their literature to the United States. 
Correspondence between the Christian Science Church and the United Stated 
diplomatic corps covering the period of 16 July 1936 to 28 July 1937, U. S. 
State Department Documents, 362. 116. Christian Science Church/8-12, Na- 
tional Archives, College Park, Maryland. 

35 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for September 1934. 

36 The previous month, Finance Minister, Hjalmar Schacht, had launched a new 
economic policy that sought to impose "strict controls on the allocation of for- 
eign exchange" for the purpose of building up currency reserves. See Ian 
Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 
1999), p. 576. 

37 Registered Marks were more valuable than regular Marks and used for inter- 
national trade. Mormon missionaries had had the privilege of purchasing 
Registered Marks since the Weimar era. See also "German-Austrian Quarterly 
Reports," December 1934, entry for October. 

38 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for October 1934; "German- Austrian 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

response, the mission presidents 39 in Europe and the First Presidency in 
Utah worked through the U.S. State Department, the American diplo- 
matic corps, and the American Express Company to resolve this crisis. In 
March, 1936, the regime let up and restored to the missionaries the 
privilege of remitting Registered Marks. 40 

The Nazi "Let Up" on the Mormons and the Illusion of "Good Rela- 

Between 1934 and 1936, most religious denominations suffered 
increased persecution at the hands of the Nazis. Both Catholic and Prot- 
estant clergymen encountered Nazi harassment and imprisonment. The 
Nazis also proceeded viciously against the smaller denominations. By 
contrast, harassment of the Mormons suddenly subsided in mid- 1934 as 
noted by both Mormon and American government officials. In July, 
Francis Salzner, was questioned about Mormon views of the regime to 
which he reaffirmed the LDS accommodation policy and positive atti- 
tudes toward secular government. After the meeting, a surprised Salzner 
reported that the Gestapo agent confided to him that the Mormons had 

MSS History," entry for 6 October 1934; Tobler, "The Narrow Line," p. 17. 
The exchange rate for the Registered Mark was 3.31 per dollar, and for the 
regular Mark it was 2.48. According to Tobler, "the resulting loss of over 30% 
of the purchasing power of their $25 monthly check was difficult, if not devas- 

39 On 1 August 1934, Roy Welker replaced Oliver Budge as president of the 
East German Mission. 

40 Correspondence between the LDS First Presidency and the United States 
diplomatic corps covering the period of 3 April to 13 April 1935, U. S. State 
Department Documents, 362.1 16.M82/35, 36, National Archives; Correspon- 
dence between William E. Dodd and Secretary of State, Corded Hull, and 
correspondence between U. S. State Department and LDS First Presidency 
covering a period between 28 May to 21 June 1935, U. S. State Department 
Documents, 362.1 16.M82/38, National Archives; "Swiss-German MSS His- 
tory," entry for July 1935. See also Tobler, "Narrow Line," p. 17. The 
Benevolent Mark was an exchange rate which allowed missionaries to exchange 
fifty percent of their foreign currency for Registered Marks and fifty percent for 
Free Marks. "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for March 1936; "German- 
Austrian MSS History," entry under "During the month of March." According 
to records, missionaries would have to apply for the privilege of buying Regis- 
tered Marks. They received an exchange rate of about RM 4 per $1. They could 
purchase up to 200 Registered Marks per month. 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


nothing to fear from the Nazis. 41 On 31 July, Utah Senator Elbert Tho- 
mas met with American Ambassador William Dodd in Berlin to discuss 
issues relating to Mormon missionaries in Germany. After the meeting, 
Dodd noted in his diary, "There are a number of Mormons in Germany 
and Hitler has not dissolved their organizations or expelled their active 
preachers. There are other than religious aspects to Hitler's let-up on 
the Mormons." 42 

Some historians have suggested a collaborationist relationship between 
Mormons and the Nazis based on a conjunction of worldviews including 
similar beliefs, doctrines and practices. Moreover, they argue that Mor- 
mons tried to convey this view to Nazi officials in order to escape 
persecution. 43 

Historian Douglas Tobler counters this thesis by arguing it was 
actually a disjunction of worldviews which formed the "foundation of 
the Nazi-Mormon relationship." According to Tobler, although there 
was some agreement of peripheral principles, the Nazis were concerned 
with gaining a "monopoly of power" and considered sectarian theology 
nonsense. On the other hand, Mormons were interested in their spiri- 
tual mission, not political power. 44 Mission documents further bolster 
this argument. In 1935, for example, mission records indicate "that the 
German attitude toward the [Mormon] Church, or any church, was that 
the churches were for the 'soul saving' part of life only, and that the state 

41 "Chronik der Gemeinde Karlsruhe," pp. 92-93. President Salzner and his 
co-worker had a conversation with two officials of the State Police. He re- 
ported: 'The NS officials inquired about our work for the Church and 
requested that we should go to their office the next day for a discussion. I and 
my co-worker came as requested, were treaty politely and thoroughly ques- 
tioned. The officials had a pile of newspaper and magazine articles about the 
Church to which they often referred during the conversation. After we were 
there an hour, they requested that we write a short history of the Church and 
describe the organization, goals and dimensions of our work. We complied with 
the request and presented the document on the following day. The officials 
informed us they were satisfied and assured us that we had no reason to fear. 
(Author's translation.) 

42 William E. Dodd, Ambassador Dodd's Diary: 1933-1938, ed. by William E. 
Dodd, Jr., and Martha Dodd (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 
1941), p. 136. 

4 ' King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, chapter 3. See also King "Strategies 

for Survival," pp. 225-228. 

44 Tobler, "The Narrow Line," pp. 2-3. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

should develop the youth, and that the churches should not interfere in 
state affairs." 45 

The Nazis, in other words, found little in Mormonism they con- 
sidered subversive. The regime seems to have regarded Mormons as 
"apolitical" and patriotic citizens. They may also have accepted some 
Mormon beliefs and practices as compatible with their own values. To- 
bler maintains that "presumably, the Nazis found no specific doctrines 
like rejection of military service, occultism or total reliance upon God's 
power in healing the sick" that would cause them concern. 46 Hitler's 
regime was thus willing to tolerate Mormons while it continued to con- 
solidate power. In many respects, the Nazis' attitude toward the Latter- 
day Saints resembled their views of the Free churches who desired to 
retain independence to preach the gospel. 47 The Free Churches advo- 
cated separation of church and state, supported themselves financially 
and had relatively insignificant membership in Germany. Furthermore, 
many of these denominations had some influence abroad. Therefore, the 
Nazis, in the interests of foreign relations refrained from blatant harass- 
ment of these denominations. 48 

Official tolerance of the Mormons, however, turned out to be a 
mirage. Douglas Tobler and Alan Keele have described this two-year 
illusion of harmonious relations as a "fool's paradise." 49 Mormons con- 
tinued their policy of accommodation with the Nazis, though the regime 
appears to have paid little attention to them except within the context of 
an overall policy on religion. 50 Each side was willing to ignore the other 
as long as it was left alone. As Tobler and Keele assert, "[b]eing largely 
oblivious to the thrust of the numerous major events and policy changes 
going on at the time, Mormons tended to evaluate their circumstances 
largely in isolation on the basis of their personal well-being and the 
condition of the Church." 1 Nevertheless, both sides took advantage of 
opportunities presented by the other to advance their goals. 

"German- Austrian MSS History," entry for Thursday, 8 August 1935. 
Tobler, "The Narrow Line," p. 3. 
Helmreich, p. 405. 
Ibid., p. 370 and 372. 

Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 14. 
Anderson, p. 157. 

Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 14. 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Doctrinal Parallels and Compatibility 

That said, it cannot be denied that Mormons and Nazis did by 
coincidence rather than design share some common doctrinal ground, 
and both were aware of the similarities. ' 2 And it was the parallels that 
reinforced the illusion held by German Mormons. 53 

Among views shared by the two parties were an emphasis on ge- 
nealogical research, the family, and the importance of health. Many 
Mormons also viewed several Nazi programs as resembling their own 
such as one of Hitler's program known as Eintopf Sonntag or "stew 
Sundays," in which participants fixed a modest meal and donated what 
they saved to the Nazi welfare program; a practice similar to the tradi- 
tional Mormon "Fast Sunday." 

Although superficially similar, the goals and objectives of the 
Mormons and Nazis were quite different. 54 Mormon programs reflected 
the faith's spiritual mission, while those of the Nazis represented their 
obsession for political and racial domination. Even so, common atti- 
tudes made Nazism more palatable to Mormons and Mormonism less 
suspect to Hitler's minions. 5 ' 

Contacts with the Government 

On 1 August 1934, Roy Welker became president of the Ger- 
man-Austrian mission; his tenure as mission president contributed to 
the illusion of "good feelings." Before leaving for Berlin, Welker met 
with President Heber J. Grant to discuss the German situation. Grant 
simply instructed Welker verbally to "meet the situation as it was," and 
to "exercise [his] own wisdom." 56 These vague directions left Welker on 

52 Joseph M. Dixon, "Mormons in the Third Reich: 1933-1945," Dialogue: A 
journal of Mormon Thought 7 (Spring 1972), 74. Dixon, argues that no "connec- 
tion existed between the two ... but any parallels ... resulted from circumstance 
rather than plan." 

3 For a thorough analysis of doctrinal common ground, see William D. Under- 
wood, "Religions are Ordained of God: The Mormon Church in Nazi 
Germany" (M.A. Thesis, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1992), pp. 

54 Anderson, pp. 154-155. 

" Tobler, "The Narrow Line," pp. 2-3. 

16 Roy A. Welker, Oral History, interviewed by Richard Jensen, 2-3 February, 
1973, Archives, Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Lat- 
ter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 28-29. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

his own to deal with the Nazi regime.' 7 Throughout his presidency, 
Welker continued the accommodation policy by complying with Nazi 
requests and investigations which he later asserted was the "best pol- 



Welker also sought contacts with government officials. In 1936, 
he sent copies of Mormon scriptures to government officials including 
Adolf Hitler himself. 60 Furthermore, Welker met a low-ranking official 
from the Ministry of Religion who assured the mission president that the 
Mormons were in no danger. 61 Welker's wife, Elizabeth, also cultivated 
ties with the regime by occasionally meeting and establishing a working 
friendship with Gertrude Scholtz-Klink, head of the Nazi women's aux- 
iliary, the NS Frauenschaft. 62 

Although both Welkers believed that their efforts improved the 
status of the Mormon Church in Germany, there is little evidence to 
bolster their claims. As Tobler concludes, "Welker apparently was con- 
vinced that '...Hitler was very much impressed with the Mormons,' a 
statement lacking support from other evidence." 63 

Harassment of LDS at the Local Level 

While governmental pressure on the Latter-day Saints at the na- 
tional level subsided considerably during 1934, at the local level 
harassment became quite intense. 64 In their 1933 year-end reports to 

57 Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," pp. 13-14. Grant, more than 
likely, gave similar instructions to others who served as mission presidents dur- 
ing this period. 

58 Ibid., p. 15. 

59 Welker, Oral History, p. 31. 

60 Scharffs, pp. 86-87. 

61 "German- Austrian MSS History," entry for "During the Month of July, 
1936; "German-Austrian Quarterly Reports," 30 September 1936; Welker, 
Oral History, pp. 62-64. 

62 Several times Elizabeth Welker, when meeting with Scholtz-Klink, found 
herself in the presence of Hitler. Nevertheless, she never had occasion to speak 
personally with the dictator, according to her account, because of the language 
barrier. See Welker, Oral History, pp. 23-25 and 29-30. 

63 Tobler and Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 15. 

64 Such harassment on the local level did not affect only the Latter-day Saints. 
In fact, many groups including other Christian denominations, Communists 
and Socialists, and Jews faced increased local intimidation during the second 
half of 1934 going into 1935. See Ian Kershaw, Popular Opinion and Political 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Salt Lake City, both Francis Salzner and Oliver Budge wrote that the 
Reich government had interfered little with the activities of the 
Church. 65 However, Budge also indicated that zealous party members 
had harassed both the members and the missionaries; a point alluded to 
by Salzner. 66 Mission records from 1933 on indicate that local Nazi offi- 
cials, aided by Catholic and Protestant clergymen, led attacks against 
Mormons. 67 

Nazi persecution on the local level took one of two forms. The 
first was the harassment of missionaries. In many localities the police 
limited missionary proselyting activities such as prohibiting going door 
to door or banning "cottage meetings." 68 Occasionally, police arrested 
missionaries and searched their apartments for subversive items. 
Throughout Germany, party officials banned missionaries from their 
cities. In extreme cases, local brown shirts used physical violence against 
the missionaries. For example, in April 1933, missionaries in Hinden- 
burg were attacked by a uniformed Nazi who beat them with his belt. 
Party members also nearly beat Reed Bradford to death for refusal to 
salute a Nazi flag. 69 

The second technique used by local authorities was to attack the 
native branches. Agents interrogated local members, confiscated branch 
records, and disrupted worship services. 70 Usually, members met with 

Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria 1933-1945 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 
pp. 82-83, 165-74, 195-96, 205-06, and 232-38. 

65 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry December 1933, "General Summary of 
the Year"; "German-Austrian Quarterly Reports," entry for 31 December 1933 

66 Ibid. See both of the above reports. 

67 Both mission presidents suggest that the Catholic and Evangelical clergy were 
responsible for much of the action against the Mormons trying to halt their 
proselyting activities. Ibid. 

68 For example, see "Swiss-German MSS History," entries for May and June 

1933. In Minden, police interrupted a cottage meeting, holding all at gunpoint. 
After the missionaries explained the circumstances, the police left. See also 
"German- Austrian Quarterly Reports," entry for 31 December 1933, "Octo- 
ber", a cottage meeting in Beuthen was disrupted and all participants taken into 

69 See "German-Austrian Quarterly Reports," entry for 30 June 1933, "April," 
and Tobler, "The Narrow Line," p. 12. 

70 For example, see "German-Austrian MSS History," entry for Wednesday, 18 
October 1933. See also "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for December 

1934. "The police summoned the appearance of all members of the Goppingen 
Branch between the 10 and 16 December. The officers apparently wanted to 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

the police, explained Mormon activities and the quoted the Twelfth 
Article of Faith. Most of the time they convinced party officials that their 
"intentions were in harmony with those of the government" and not 
subversive. 71 In extreme cases based on "political suspicion," police 
closed the meeting halls 72 used by Mormons forcing the closure of sev- 
eral branches. 73 

Local harassment of Mormons varied from place to place, and 
from official to official. In Karlsruhe, Mormons were treated well. 74 On 
the other hand, branches in Breslau, Dresden and Hamburg suffered 
intense harassment. In 1935, missionaries were banned in Saxony. 75 This 
pattern of uneven treatment suggests that local Nazi leaders, not the 
Reich government, determined policy regarding Mormons. 

The 1936 Berlin Olympics 

Local harassment did have an effect on missionary proselyting 
activities. By mid- 1935, mission documents state "tracting averages for 
the missionaries have reached a low point. Plans are being worked out to 
find a way in which this important missionary activity, in spite of police 
restrictions, can be increased." 76 Missionaries in both missions turned to 

learn the meaning of our meetings, since Germany is at present in an anxious 
state of political agitation and all meetings are looked upon with suspicion." 

71 See for example "Swiss-German MSS History," entries for January 1934, 
April 1934, September 1934. 

72 In Germany, Mormons rented meeting halls to hold their services. There 
were only one or two Church-owned chapels in the whole country. 

73 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for May 1933. "The Hanau branch was 
denied the right to hold meetings in the 'Hohelandschule.' The reason being 
political suspicion." "Swiss-German MSS History," entry July 1933, "Branch 
Closed." "The Hanau branch was closed due to not having a meeting hall...." 
See also "German-Austrian Quarterly Reports," entry for 30 June 1933, head- 
ing of "May." On 9 May the use of public schools to hold meetings was refused 
in Stargard. In this case, no reason was given. 

74 In Karlsruhe, according to the branch president, John Dahl, Mormons were 
treated well by the Party. See Dahl, Oral Interview, p. 18. Other Mormons and 
missionaries were able to maintain harmonious relations with local Party lead- 
ers or encountered little trouble. 

11 Efforts by President Welker, European mission president, Joseph Merrill, and 
the American diplomatic corps to get the expulsion rescinded failed. See Steven 
E. Carter, "The Mormons and the Third Reich" (Ph.D. diss., University of 
Arkansas, 2003), pp. 110-112. 

76 Swiss-German MSS History, entry July 1935, "Tracting Averages." 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


unorthodox methods to contact potential converts. In particular, the 
American missionaries turned to basketball, 77 which President Welker 
endorsed. 78 

It is impossible to determine the impact of "basketball prose- 
lyting" although some missionaries were able to develop a good rapport 
with the local officials at a time of intense local harassment.79 One un- 
expected outcome occurred in 1935 when the German army recruited 
several missionaries to teach basketball to the soldiers. 80 Later, officials 
asked several missionaries to train the German Olympic basketball team 
and help officiate during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. 81 Mormons 
saw this representing recognition by national leaders and as a way to 
improve the religion's status. The Nazis believed that Mormon mission- 
aries could help them in their propaganda effort by achieving a victory 
for the German basketball team. 82 In the end, however, the German 
Olympic basketball team exited the tournament early. And although 
Mormons were involved in such a high profile event, there is no evi- 
dence the Olympics improved their image or respectability. 83 

77 It was not uncommon for missionaries in Europe to be using basketball. Mis- 
sionaries in Czechoslovakia, Great Britain and Sweden all participated in 
"Basketball Proselyting." See Bruce C. Van Orden, Building Zion: The Latter-day 
Saints in Europe (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1996), p. 135. 

78 President Welker, himself, encouraged the use of basketball in proselyting 
activities and believed that it "did quite a bit of good." Welker, Oral History, p. 

79 Les Goates, "Mormon Missionaries Train German Basketeers," Deseret News, 
7 February 1936, p. 14. 

80 "German-Austrian MSS History," entries for 8 August 1935 and 26 August 

81 Goates, p. 14; Glynn Bennion, "New Ways of Proselyting and the Reason 
Therefore," Deseret News, 25 January 1936, Church Section 1, p. 7. As German 
basketball officials, the official Olympic report listed Charles Perschon, Jerome 
Christensen, Edward Judd and Vinton Merrill. XI Olympiade Berlin 1936, Am- 
tlicKer Berricht, vol. II, (Berlin: Organisationskomittee Fur die XL Olypiade 
Berlin 1936 e.V, Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag, 1936), pp. 1078-1079. 

82 Bennion, p. 7. "In Germany Herr Hitler has sought the services of the Elders 
to teach basketball to the teams he hopes will achieve a Nordic victory at the 
Olympic games to be held this year in Berlin." 

83 Even within the LDS community there were few German Mormons who 
were aware that missionaries were involved in the Olympics. Dahl, Oral Inter- 
view, p. 20. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

The Olympics, however, did benefit Mormons indirectly as the 
Hitler dictatorship put forth its best appearance and temporarily relaxed 
its attacks on religion. 84 Under these conditions, Mormons held their 
largest youth conference before World War II in Berlin, and missionar- 
ies found it easier to proselytize at this time. Mission records from 
October, 1936, noted "[t]racting and visiting totals continue to show 
increased activity on the part of the missionaries." 85 

Renewed Harassment 

The Olympics represented the climax of a two-year period of 
seemingly cordial relations between the Mormons and the Nazi regime. 
Shortly after the Olympics, however, the Nazis renewed their assault on 
the Christian churches. 86 

Mormons also experienced an intensification of harassment. In 
Hamburg, Nazis charged district president, Alwin Brey, with spying for 
the United States. 87 For months, government authorities monitored LDS 
congregations and missionaries, censored their correspondence, and 
confiscated records and publications. Moreover, officials informed Brey 
"[I]f the Church wished to remain in [Hamburg] they must cease all 
youth activities and gathering." Brey complied with this demand and 
canceled a proposed "Youth Day." The impact upon the LDS commu- 
nity in Hamburg was chilling. Church reports noted, "[a] decided 

84 In Berlin and throughout the country, the Nazis relaxed much of their cen- 
sorship and restrictions they had imposed and did their best to hide anti- 
Semitic programs, including the Jew-baiting publication, Der Sttirmer, and other 
racial signs from public view. They also let up on their attacks against the Chris- 
tian churches. For example, they halted the show trials of Catholic priests 
charged with immorality and currency smuggling. See Duff Hart-Davis, Hitler's 
Games: The 1936 Olympics (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1986), p. 126 
and 129, and Helmreich, p. 279. 

81 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for October 1936, "Missionary Activi- 

86 Conway, p. 168. 

87 Sanford M. Bingham, Oral History, Interviewed by Douglas Tobler and Alan 
F. Keele. Provo, Utah, 1974, Typescript, The James Moyle Oral History Pro- 
gram, Archives, Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 5-6. Alwin Brey had been collecting a list 
of Mormons in the military from the Hamburg district in order to send them 
copies of Church publications. Nazi officials believed he was gathering the in- 
formation to turn over to American intelligence. 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


tension between the government's attitude in this district was everywhere 
apparent." 88 Similar harassment and "investigations" occurred through- 
out the Reich. 89 

Many missionaries felt the sting of renewed Nazi persecution. In 
addition to the usual harassment, a number of missionaries were ar- 
rested as suspected American spies and incarcerated for several days. 90 
There were incidents of anti-Mormons who denounced the missionaries 
as representatives of a banned sect. The missionaries would have to 
prove, through intense interrogations, that this was not the case. 91 

There was always a concern among Mormon leaders that young 
callow missionaries might do or say something to endanger the 
Church, 92 and during the late 1930s there were two incidents in which 
missionaries did offend Nazi sensibilities. In 1937, Alvin Schoenhals was 
arrested after the Nazis intercepted a letter he wrote criticizing the re- 
gime. After a month in jail, Schoenhals was deported. 93 Later, a set of 
missionaries had to flee to Switzerland after the Gestapo obtained a 
photo of the two with a party flag wrapped around themselves like a 
breech cloth. 94 

88 "Swiss-German MSS History," entries for "March 1937: Difficulties in Ham- 
burg District", "April 1937: Government wants Financial Report", and "April 
1937: Conferences". The youth gathering was then moved to Switzerland where 
there was less oppression. 

89 For example, in the Breslau district, the Walthenburg Branch was closed "on 
account of so much difficulty in obtaining permission to hold meetings." More- 
over, "[p]olice refused the Saints permission to hold 'open' meetings in 
November the previous year, allowing only two outsiders to one gathering." In 
April 1937, the Reich and Prussian Minister of Science issued a decree making 
it unlawful for any religious meeting to be held in public school buildings. This 
decree affected several branches in the Breslau and Berlin districts that met in 
schools. "German-Austrian MSS History," entry for "During the Month of 
January 1936"; "Friday 29 April 1937." 

90 Scharffs, p. 85. 

91 Wallace D. Montague, "I was a 'Political Prisoner' of Hitler," The Instructor 
(March 1963), 90-91. 

92 Scharffs, p. 90. 

95 "Swiss-German MSS History," entry for "Missionary Imprisoned," June 
1937; Bingham, Oral History, pp. 8-11; Tobler, "The Narrow Line," pp. 19- 

94 Donald M. Petty, Oral History, Interviewed by Douglas Tobler, Salt Lake 
City, Utah, 6 and 13 August 1985, Typescript, The James Moyle Oral History 
Program, Archives, Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

Mormon leaders in both Germany and Utah took these inci- 
dents seriously. During the summer of 1939, the Church sent Apostle 
Joseph Fielding Smith to Germany in part to investigate these events. 95 
Such incidents, no doubt, contributed to the Nazis' growing suspicion of 
the Mormons. A 1935 Gestapo report on "subversive activities" of reli- 
gious organizations omitted mention of the Latter-day Saints. 96 Three 
years later, the Security Service (SD) labeled Mormons "enemies of the 
state." 97 By late 1937 and early 1938, however, as Hitler was preparing 
for war and needed national support, the overall church struggle in 
Germany subsided. 98 This, in part, prevented the Nazis from attacking 
the Mormons more vigorously. At the same time, not wanting to an- 
tagonize the United States unnecessarily, especially while high LDS 
dignitaries from Utah, including J. Reuben Clark and church president 
Heber J. Grant, were touring Germany, the Hitler regime "did not look 
at [the Mormons] as a very serious problem." 99 

The Mormons and the German Media 

One of the more controversial events concerning the relations 
between Mormons and the regime centered on the Church and the me- 
dia. Ever since the founding of Mormonism, Latter-day Saints faced 
unflattering accounts in the media at home and abroad. During the Nazi 
era, however, they experienced both positive and negative media cover- 

Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 50. According to Petty, the missionaries 
wrapped the flag around them like a "breech cloth;"and M. Douglas & Evelyn 
N. Wood, interview by Richard O. Cowan & Davis F. Boone, typescript, The 
James Moyle Oral History Program, Archives, Historical Department of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 3-5. 

95 Petty, Oral History, pp. 50-51. 

96 Sonderbericht uber die Lage der Protestantischen Kirchen und in den verschiedenen 
Sekten und deren Staatsfeindliche Auswirkung, 1935, National Archives Microcopy 
No. T-175, Guide 39, Roll 409, National Archives. 

97 Sonderbericht uber die Lage der Protestantischen Kirchen und in den verschiedenen 
Sekten und deren Staatsfeindliche Auswirkung, 1938, referenced in Tobler and 
Keele, "The Saints and the Reich," p. 22, and Tobler, "The Narrow Line," p. 9. 

98 Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 'Nemesis (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000), 
p. 41 and 46. 

99 See Tobler's comments in Bingham, Oral Interview, pp. 26-27. 

100 A "positive" article, "A Visit with the Mormons", that explained Latter-day 
Saint doctrine appeared in the Rheinische Zeitung in February 1933. The follow- 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Mormons, too, appreciated the media and utilized it in Europe 
to spread their message. 101 Moreover, LDS leaders sought opportunities 
to rebut false accounts of Mormonism in local newspapers. 102 It was this 
activity that led to the appearance of a controversial article in the 
Volkischer Beobachter in the spring of 1939. 

In November, 1938, the Nazis unleashed their most brutal at- 
tack on the Jews up to that time. In response to American criticism in 
the aftermath of Kristallnacht, the Volkischer Beobachter published an 
article entitled, "The State within a State: An American Parallel to the 
Jewish Question in Germany." 103 The column, addressed to "fair- 
minded Americans" compared Nazi treatment of the Jews to the official 
handling of the "Mormon question" in Missouri and Illinois during the 
nineteenth century. Both Mormons and the Jews, the writer claimed, 
were enemies of mankind. 104 

The article outraged Alfred Rees who was the president of the 
newly formed East German mission. 10 ' Rees, who believed that his pur- 

ing July, the Herforder Zeitung ran an article about the Mormon pioneers in 
Utah and the "sea-gull miracle." In contrast, a "slanderous" article, entitled 
"The Mormons Seek to Rule the World" appeared in the Wilhelmshaverner 
Zeitung in April 1934 and a 1938 Bremen article discussed Mormon 
"indulgence" in polygamy. See "Swiss-German MSS History," entries for Feb- 
ruary 1933, "Printed Article"; July 1933, "Newspaper Print Favorable Article"; 
April 1934, "Newspaper Article"; and October 1938, "Opposition." 

101 At a 1932 mission presidents' conference held in Prague, then-European 
mission president, John Widtsoe, encouraged the European Church leaders to 
use "all forms of publicity" and to organize mission central publicity bureaus. 
"European Mission Presidents in Conference," The Latter-day Saints' Millennial 
Star 25 (August 1932), 536-537. 

102 For instance, when the article, "The Mormons Seek to Rule the World" 
appeared in the Wilhelmhavener Zeitung, the missionaries got permission to write 
a rebuttal that appeared on 20 May 1934. See "Swiss-German MSS History," 
entry for April 1934, "Newspaper Article." 

103 "Germany Shifting Her Foreign Policy: Reaction Abroad Criticized," New 
York Times, 21 November 1938, p. 4. "Chancellor Hitler's own newspaper, the 
Voelkisher Beobacther, published what it called a history of the ejections of 
Mormons from the States of Missouri and Illinois, describing it as an 'Ameri- 
can parallel to the Jewish problem in Germany.'" See also "West German MSS 
History," entry for Tuesday, 22 November 1938. 

104 "West German MSS History," entry for Tuesday, 22 November 1938. 

1 During the summer of 1937, Heber J. Grant announced that a third Ger- 
man-speaking mission would be created from the German-Austrian mission 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

pose was to work with government officials, had been making contacts 
with influential Nazi organizations since he arrived in Berlin. As early as 
November, 1937, he had established a relationship with "a certain influ- 
ential agency," most likely the Propaganda Ministry. 106 At the time, Rees 
believed that he had struck a "secret deal" with the Ministry in which the 
press would refrain from publishing unfavorable articles about the Lat- 
ter-day Saints. 107 In return, Rees agreed to write "positive" articles about 
Germany for the American press. 108 Although Rees believed that he had 
bested the Propaganda Ministry, he did not realize that Goebbel's Minis- 
try had been making quid pro quo agreements with other 
denominations in exchange for favorable public relations abroad. 109 Fur- 
thermore, on 19 April 1939 Rees published an article on Mormonism in 
the Volkischer Beobachter. 

Rees, in his article entitled, "In the Land of the Mormons," fa- 
vorably compared Mormonism and Nazism and emphasized doctrinal 
similarities. He also suggested that common experience gave Mormonism 
a unique understanding of the "new Germany," especially its grievances 
resulting from World War I. Rees asserted "to a student of Mormonism, 
recent developments in Germany present a most impressive study." He 

and the Swiss-German mission. The new missions, West German, East Ger- 
man and Swiss -Austrian missions would be organized on 1 January 1938. A 
third mission president, Alfred Rees was called at that time and arrived in 
Germany to help with the transition in the fall of 1937. 

106 Ralph Mark Lindsey, Oral History, Interviewed by Matthew Heiss, Oakmont, 
California, 22 April 1990, Typescript, The James Moyle Oral History Program, 
Archives, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 1-2. Lindsey confirms that Rees had connec- 
tions with the Propaganda Ministry. However, Lindsey states that the scandalous 
article was on Mormon polygamy. In searching mission records in late 1938 and 
early 1939, there is no mention of such an article. 

107 Bingham, Oral History, pp. 25-26. 

108 Ibid., p. 22. 

109 Roland Bleich, "Selling Nazi Germany Abroad: The Case of Hulda Jost," 
Journal of Church and State 35 (Autumn 1993), 807-808. According to Blaich, 
"Concerned about the impact of a bad press on his foreign policy, Hitler real- 
ized that several small American-based denominations could be useful in 
influencing public opinion abroad. Methodists and Baptists, particularly, 
wielded considerable influence in America while posing little risk to Nazi totali- 
tarian designs in Germany because of their small membership. These churches, 
on the other hand, had reasons of their own to collaborate; for in return they 
could expect toleration by the Nazi state." 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


mentioned J. Reuben Clark, no doubt, reminding the Nazis of Clark's 
efforts to relieve the financial situation in Germany as president of the 
Foreign Bondholders' Association. Rees concluded that Mormons exhib- 
ited the "application of the German ideal: Community welfare before 
personal welfare," an allusion to Point 24 of the Nazi Party program of 
putting "common interests before self-interest." 110 

Rees believed that the article would help the Mormon cause in 
Germany and even had it published in pamphlet form for missionary 
use. 111 Douglas Wood of the West German mission, however, opposed 
the article and objected to Rees' "friendly relationship" with the Nazis. 112 
Wood refused to distribute the tract in the West German mission argu- 
ing that it linked Mormonism too closely to National Socialism. 115 
Ultimately, it was Nazis who restricted distribution of the tract because 
the swastika on the front cover implied Party sanction of an American 
denomination. 114 

While Rees intended to spread the Mormon message and to 
provide safety for the 8,000-9,000 Mormons living in the East German 
mission 11 he underestimated the ruthlessness of the Nazis and overesti- 
mated his ability to deal with them. 116 Rees, rather than help the 
Mormon cause with the publication of his article in the Volkischer Beo- 
bachter, unwittingly tied his religion to the pagan cult of National 


The outbreak of war a few months after the publication of Rees' 
article dramatically changed church/state relations in Germany. Hitler, 
needing national support, let up on the church struggle. In August, 1939 
the Mormon Church withdrew its missionaries from Europe leaving 

110 Alfred C. Rees, "Im Lande der Mormonen," Volkischer Beobacter, 14 April 

111 After its publication Rees petitioned the Propaganda Ministry to reprint 
thousands of copies of the article in pamphlets for missionaries to use. The 
ministry obliged apparently believing that distribution of the pamphlet would 
also benefit the Party. See Lindsey, Oral History, p. 2. 

112 This led to a heated debate between Wood and Rees. Tobler, "The Narrow 
Line," pp. 26-27. 

113 Ibid. 

114 Dixon, p. 72. 

115 Lindsey, Oral History, p. 2. 

116 Tobler, "The Narrow Line," p. 28. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

more than 13,000 coreligionists in the Third Reich. Both the Hitler 
regime and the Mormon Church sought to survive the war. 

Between 1933 and 1939, Mormons, like other denominations 
struggled to formulate strategies to deal with the Nazi regime. LDS atti- 
tudes were shaped by the mandates of the Twelfth Article of Faith and 
the accommodation policies developed at the turn of the century. This 
meant that the Latter-day Saints would concern themselves with spiri- 
tual rather than political matters in the Reich. They pledged themselves 
to be loyal citizens and support the regime that was in power; it was an 
approach that alleviated Nazi suspicions to a considerable degree. 
Relations between Hitler's government and the Mormon Church were, 
therefore, better than those involving most other small denominations. 
That does not mean that the Latter-day Saints escaped Nazi harassment. 
Instead a two-tiered pattern developed. On the national level, the Nazis 
eliminated the Church's Boy Scout organization while the Gestapo 
monitored LDS meetings and financial activities. During the middle of 
the decade, Mormons felt optimistic. This was because the Nazis, at the 
national level, paid very little attention to the Mormons. As long as there 
was something to be gained internationally, the regime tolerated Latter- 
day Saints in much the same way it tolerated Baptists and Methodists. 
After the Olympics, Nazi suspicions of the LDS had grown substantially 
while toleration had waned considerably. 

Locally, Mormons faced continued harassment, and in some 
places, outright persecution. As with other denominations, grass-roots 
Party activists determined the degree and nature of this harassment. For 
example, Nazi officials nearly succeeded in banishing Mormonism in 
Saxony in 1935. Nevertheless, LDS leaders were willing to tolerate such 
abuse because of their seemingly "privileged" status nationally. 

But overall, the Mormons did not endure the intense persecu- 
tion suffered by other religions. The Party never banned the Mormons. 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Appendix A 

Der Stern 
No. 65 
14. Mi 1933 
Ein aufklarender Brief 

Der unter abgedruckte Brief wurde durch die Schwierigkeiten veranlaGt, die 
unsern Missionaren in Darmstadt entstanden waren. Die Behorden hatten die 
Ausweisung der Missionare verfiigt, weil ihre Anwesenheit angeblich nicht im 
Interesse des deutschen Volkes liege. Unser zustandiger Bezirksleiter, Altester 
Rudolf A. NoB, nahm sofort die Verhandlungen mit den Regierungsstellen auf, 
um eine Zuriickziehung der Ausweisungsverfugung herbeizufuhren. Die Ver- 
fiigung wurde denn auch, wenn zunachst auch nur vorlaufig, zuruckgezogen 
und das Missionsburo ersucht, eine offizielle Erklarung uber einige die 
Regierung besonders interessierende Punkte in bezug auf unsre Lehren und 
Bestrebungen, Stellung zu Staat und andern Kirchen, Organisation, Arbeits- 
weise usw., belegt mit entsprechenden Unterlagen aus der Kirchenliteratur, 
abzugeben; auf Grand dieser Erklarung und Unterlagen werde die Angelegen- 
heit eingehend gepruft und eine endgiiltige Entscheidung getroffen werden. 
Daraufhin hat das Missionsburo das folgende Schreiben abgefaGt und mit 
zahlreichen Belegen aus unsrer Literatur durch den Bezirksleiter der 
hessischen Staatsregierung uberreichen lassen. Wie uns Bruder NoB soeben 
mitteilt, hat die Regierung die Ausweisungsverfugung nunmehr endgiiltig 
aufgehoben und ihre Entscheidung dahin getroffen, daB Aufenthalt und Tatig- 
keit unsrer Missionare nicht mehr beanstandet werden. 

Da der Brief uber den Kreis der Betroffenen hinaus von Interesse sein diirfte, 
bringen wir ihn nachstehend auch unsern Lesern zur Kenntnis. 


Basel, den 22. Juni 1933. 

An die Hessische Staatsregierung zu Handen des 

Herrn Staatskommissars Dr. Best 


Betr. Ausweisungsverfugung gegen die Missionare Ryman und Niederhauser. 
Sehr geehrter Herr Staatskommissar! 

Sie hatten die Freundlichkeit, die angefuhrte Ausweisungsverfugung auf 
Grand einer Besprechung zwischen einem Ihrer Herren Regierungsrate und 
unserm zustandigen Frankfurter Bezirksleiter, Herrn Rudolf NoB, einstweilen 
zuriickziehen zu lassen. 

Wir danken Ihnen herzlich fur diese Entgegenkommen und geben der Zuver- 
sicht Ausdruck, Sie mochten sich an Hand der Ihnen heute zugehenden 
Unterlagen davon uberzeugen, daB die Bestrebungen unsrer Kirche durchaus 
geeignet sind, das Wohl des deutschen Volkes zu fordern und daB deshalb die 
Verfugung endgiiltig zuruckgenommen werden sollte. 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

Es wird in diesem Scheiben weder moglich noch erwiinscht sein, die Lehre 
unsrer Kirche in alien Punkten eingehend darzustellen, wir beschranken uns 
daher im folgenden auf solche, von denen wir annehmen, daB Sie ihnen be- 
sondern Wert beilegen, und verwiesen im ubrigen auf die angeschlossene 
Literatur. Etwa weiter gewunschte Unterlagen und Erklarungen stehen Ihnen 
jederzeit zur Verfugung. 

Unsere Lehre ist das alte, urspriingliche Evangelium Jesu Christi, rein und 
unverfalscht von irgendwelchen unchristlichen, fremdartigen Einflussen, wie 
es Christus verkundigt hat. Grundlage ist die Bibel, insbesondere das Neue 
Testament. Dieses Evangelium ist nach einem jahrhundertelangen Abfall in 
unsrer Zeit durch Offenbarung der Menschheit von neuem gegeben worden, 
eine Offenbarung, durch welche die Reformation weitergefuhrt und vollendet 
wurde. Wir sehen in Martin Luther einen Mann Gottes und den Vorlaufer der 
in der Schrift vorausgesagten „Wiederherstellung aller Dinge". — Die 
Hauptpunkte unserer Lehre sind in den 13 „Glaubensartikeln" der Kirche 
(Beilagen 1.) 

Das Evangelium ist uns der groBe Plan des Lebens, dessen Befolgung uns zu 
bessern Manner und Frauen macht. Wir legen keinen Wert auf theologische 
Spitzfindigkeiten, gehen allem religiosen Streit aus dem Wege, betonen aber 
um so starker die Notwendigkeit eines praktischen Christentums, das sich im 
taglichen Leben des Einzelnen auswirken muB, zu seinem Wohle und zum 
Wohle des Gemeinwesens, in dem er lebt. Wir erlangen von unsern Mitglied- 
ern Enthaltsamkeit von Rauschmitteln jeder Art und Form, leben also alkohol- 
und tabakfrei, verponen den GenuB von Bohnenkaffee und Schwarztee und 
ubermaBiger Fleischkost und verpflichten die Mitglieder zu einer einfachen, 
natiirlichen Lebensweise, wie sie bekanntlich auch der deutsche Volkskanzler 
Adolf Hitler fiihrt. Dabei halten wir uns frei von Fanatismus und maBen uns 
nicht an, unsre Umgebung bevormunden zu wollen. Vernunftige Belehrungen 
und unser eigenes gutes Beispiel sollen die andern uberzeugen, daB Gehorsam 
gegeniiber den reinen, unverfalschten Lehren Jesu Christi zu einem wahrhaft 
befriedigenden, fortschrittlichen Leben fiihrt. 
(Beilagen 2.) 

Die sittlichen Lehren unsrer Kirche machen diese zu einem eisernen Bollwerk 
gegen alle Besetzungsbestrebungen. Geschlechtliche Reinheit wird beiden 
Geschlechtern als eine hochste religiose Pflicht gelehrt, unbedingte Enthalt- 
samkeit vor der Ehe und lebenslangliche gegenseitige Treue in der Ehe als 
Oberstes Gesetz verkundigt und Ehebruch als ein Vergehen betrachtet, das an 
Fluchwiirdigkeit gleich nach dem Mord kommt. Reinhaltung der Rasse wird 
als eine Verpflichtung der kommenden Generation gegeniiber mit aller Strenge 
gefordert, auf korperliche Ertuchtigung durch Arbeit, Sport und Spiel groBer 
Wert gelegt, und selbstverstandlich alle jene Bersestzungserscheinungen, wie 
sie sich noch bis vor kurzem in Literatur, Theater, Presse, Film und Funk so 
widerwartig breitmachten, rucksichtslos abgelehnt und bekampft. Es gibt keine 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Kirche, die den groBen Volksschaden unsrer Zeit entschiedener zu Leibe riickt 
und ihnen den Boden mehr entzieht als unsre. Auf die Pflege des Familienle- 
bens als der Keimzelle des Volkes, und auf die Achtung vor Frau und Mutter 
als der Mittlerin zwischen Himmel und Erde wird der groBte Nachdruck ge- 
legt. Kurz: es wird eine planmaBige Hoherzuchtung und Veredlung des 
Menschen angestrebt wie sie in der bewuBten Hoherzuchtung von Pflanzen 
und Tieren ihr niedrigeres aber symbolisches Gegenstuck hat. Auf die Friichte 
dieser Bestrebungen darf die Kirche Jesu Christi bei aller gebiihrenden 
Bescheidenheit doch mit berechtigtem Stolze hinweisen. 
(Beilagen 3.) 

Die Stellung der Kirche Jesu Christi gegeniiber dem Staat 
wird durch ihren folgenden Glaubensartikel gekennzeichnet: 
„Wir glauben daran, Konigen, Prasidenten, Herrschern und Obrigkeiten 
untertanig zu sein, den Gesetzen zu gehorchen, sie zu ehren und zu unter- 

Die Kirche halt sich von jeder Einmischung in Politik fern. 
Zwar strebt sie bewuGt und mit alien Mitteln darnach, ihre Mitglieder zu 
tiichtigen Staatsburgern zu machen, die die Forderung des Wohles ihres Vater- 
landes und Volkes als eine heilige Pflicht betrachten, aber sie mischt sich nicht 
in Angelegenheiten, deren Regelung dem Staat vorbehalten ist, so wenig wie 
sie mit Parteipolitik je etwas zu tun hatte oder zu tun haben mochte. Ihre Mit- 
glieder sind mundig genug, um von ihren staatsburgerlichen Rechten und 
Pflichten ohne jede Bevormundung den rechten Gebrauch zu machen; die 
einzige Bedingung ist, daB dies stets auf dem Boden der christlichen Weltan- 
schauung geschieht, was aber als selbstverstandlich gilt. 

Die Mission der Kirche enthalten sich aufs strengste jeder 
politischen Tatigkeit. Ihre Sendung ist eine rein religiose. Sie verkundigen das 
wiederhergestellte Evangelium, unterweisen die Menschen darin und arbeiten 
mit ihnen, daB sie seinen Gesetzen und Geboten gehorchen. 

Die Kirche legt groBen Wert darauf, die vaterlandische Gesin- 
nung bei ihren Mitgliedern zu pflegen. Jung und alt werden ermahnt, die guten 
alten Sitten und Grundsatze ihrer Vater als kostbares Gut treu zu bewahren. 
Die jetzt endlich wieder zu verdienten Ehren kommende alte Wahrheit „Ge- 
meinnutz geht vor Eigennutz" wird in unsrer Kirche seit ihrer Grundung, also 
seit uber 100 Jahren, gelehrt und allgemein befolgt. Wir lehren unsre Mit- 
glieder, ihr Volk als eine groBe erweiterte Familie zu betrachten mit all den 
damit verbundenen Pflichten und Verantwortlichkeiten. Als ein besondrer 
Beweis fur die Pflege des Heimat- und Volksgefuhls darf die Errichtung des 
deutschen Kriegerdenkmals in der Salzseestadt in den Vereinigten Staaten von 
Nordamerika durch deutschstammige Mitglieder unsrer Kirche angesehen 
werden. Wir verweisen angelegentlich auf die hier beiliegenden Nummern des 
„Salt Lake City-Beobacters", der von der Kirche fur ihre deutschsprechenden 
Mitglieder in Amerika herausgegeben wird. Die Einweihung dieses Denkmals 
hat am 30. Mai d.J. im Beisein des deutschen Militarattaches, Generalmajors 
von Botticher, stattgefunden. Der zweitoberste Fuhrer des Kirche hat dabei das 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

Weihegebet gesprochen. „Der Beobachter" ist die alteste deutsche Zeitung in 

Westen Amerikas und wurde von der Kirche ins Leben gerufen, um die 

deutschstammigen Mitglieder der Kirche in ihrem Bestreben, ihre Sprache und 

ihr Volkstum sich auch in Amerika zu erhalten, zu unterstiitzen. 

Aus den weiter angeschlossenen gedruckten Unterlagen werden Sie noch man- 

che andre Beweise der gutdeutschen, volkischen Gesinnung und Einstellung 

unsrer Mitglieder entnehmen konnen. 

(Beilagen 4) 


Fiir das Verhaltnis unsrer Kirche zu andern Kirchen ist unser folgender 
Glaubensartikel maBgebend: 

„Wir erheben Anspruch auf das Recht, den allmachtigen Gott zu verehren 
nach den Eingebungen unsres Gewissens und gestatten alien Menschen das 
selbe Reche, mogen sie verehren wie, wo oder was sie wollen." 

Wie schon hervorgehoben, gehen wir allem religiosen Streit aus dem 
Wege, denn es ist uns durch Offenbarung ausdrucklich geboten worden: 
„Kampfet gegen keine Kirche!" Wir anerkennen das Gute, woimmer wir es 
finden und nehmen Wahrheit an aus jeder Quelle. Unser Fiihrer Brigham 
Young hat einst den Katholiken einen Bauplatz geschenkt, damit sie in der 
Salzseestadt in Amerika eine Kirche bauen konnten, und dieser Seit der Duld- 
samkeit beseelt die Kirche noch heute. Wir glauben, daB jeder Mensch fiir sich 
selbst verantwortlich ist, und daB den Stifter des Christentums nichts so seht 
betrubt wie die Unduldsamkeit und der Bruderzwist in den Reihen Seiner 
angeblichen Jiinger. Deshalb scharfen wir alien unsern Mitgliedern und Beam- 
ten ein, andre Kirchen in Ruhe zu lassen, und diese Vorschrift wird auch 
allgemein befolgt. 
(Beilagen 5) 

Zur Erreichung der kirchlichen Zwecke und Ziele dient eine 
Organisation, die der von Christus ins Leben gerufenen entspricht: Profeten, 
Apostel, Patriarchen, Hohenpriester, Siebziger, Aelteste, Bischofe usw. Sind 
als Beamte und Lehrer tatig, um die Mitflieder zu unterweisen und die Verwal- 
tungsarbeiten zu erledigen. Ale Beamten uben ihre Tatigkeit ehrenamtlich aus 
und erhalten keinerlei finanzielle Entschadigung. „Umsonst habt ihr's empfan- 
gen, umsonst gebet es auch!" ist ein grundlegendes Gesetz in der Kirche. Da 
die Organisation sehr reichhaltig gegliedert ist und infolgedessen sehr viele 
Mitglieder ehrenamtlich tatig sind, kann die Arbeit so verteilt werden, daB sie 
in der Regel neben der Berufsarbeit getan werden kann, den einzelnen also 
nicht zu stark belastet. Im AuGendienst sind Missionare tatig, die ebenfalls 
ohne Lohn oder Gehalt arbeiten, sogar die Kosten ihres Unterhaltes aus ei- 
gener Tasche oder mit Hilfe von Angehorigen und Freunden bestreiten 
miissen. Meist sind es jiingere Leute, die sich der Kirche zu diesem Zwecke 
fiir zwei und mehr Jahre freiwillig zur Verfiigung stellen und dabei von ihren 
Eltern unterstiitzt werden, soweit ihre eigenen Ersparnisse nicht ausreichen. 

Die Kirche huldigt dem Grundsatz der Selbstverwaltung. Die in iiber 
hundert Orten des deutschen Sprachgebietes bestehenden Gemeinden werden 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


meist von einheimischen Mitgliedern geleitet: gewohnlich ist es ein President 
mit zwei Ratgebern, denen noch eine Priesterschaft, bestehend aus Aeltesten, 
Priestern, Lehrern und Diakonen, zur Seit steht. Die Priesterschaft besteht 
ausschlieBlich aus einheimischen Mannern. Die Frauen haben ihre eigene 
Organisation, den sogen. Frauenhilfsverein, der vornehmlich Wohltatigkeits- 
und Ausbildungszwecke verfolgt und dessen Leitung ganz in den Handen 
ortsansassiger, deutscher Frauen liegt. 
(Beilagen 6) 

Wir hoffen, Ihnen hiermit einen Einblick in unsre Lehren und 
Bestrebungen gegeben zu haben und wiirden uns freuen, wenn Sie sich aus der 
beiliegenden Literatur iiber die einzelnen Punkte noch weiter unterrichten 
wiirden. Im ubrigen verburgen sich die Unterzeichneten ausdrucklich dafiir, 
da6 sich unsre Korperschaft alien staatlichen Gesetzen und Einrichtungen 
unterwirft, und daB sich insbesondre unsre Missionare, ihrer rein religiosen 
Sendung gemaB, in keinerlei Weise politisch betatigen. 

Wir sehen Ihrer endgultigen Entscheidung nunmehr gerne entgegen 
und verharren inzwischen in vollkommener Hochachtung. 

Schweizerisch-Deutsche Mission 



International Journal of Mormon Studies 

Appendix B 

September 8th, 1933 

State Secret Service Police Office 

Service Station Ad. II E, Room 218 

Prinz Alberchtstr. 28 



In keeping with our conversation yesterday, and in compliance with your re- 
quest, I make the following statement concerning 
The name of the Church is the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," 
often called "Mormons." Although the word "Mormon" is but a nickname, we 
recognize it when we hear it. This name is derived from a book by the same 
name, which book was translated from golden plates on which was engraved a 
history of the American people. We claim it to be the first authentic history of 
the American people as far back as 600 B.C. It is particularly the history of the 
American Indian. 

The Church was organized on the sixth day of April in the year 1830 at Fay- 
ette, state of New York, United States of America. It is called the "Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" because we claim that through Christ it was 
organized. The term "Latter-day Saints" is to distinguish the followers of 
Christ in this day from those in former days, or in the days of the Apostles. 

Our articles of faith are: (quoted article of faith) 

The German-Austria Mission of the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
comprises the north central and southeast part of Germany, and all of Austria; 
therefore it is called the German-Austrian Mission. 

Our teachings are that those desiring to become members of the Church must 
be converted of their own free will and choice to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as 
found in the Bible and is taught by the Church. Before their baptism, or en- 
trance into the Church, individuals must prove themselves worthy of 
membership; and certainly afterward are they expected, above all else, to be 
trustworthy, honest, virtuous, kind, and faithful. 

If a member, or members, of the Church are known to be engaged in immoral 
practices, and do not immediately repent and lived in keeping with the teach- 
ings of the Church in this respect, they are excommunicated. These members 
are also taught to be exemplary in their own homes. The man is to make peace 
with his wife, and a wife is to make peace with her husband, and the parents 
are to make peace with children. It is expected that love abide in their homes, 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


and that they thank the lord, morning and evening, for every blessing received, 
and, at the same time, ask for his protection during the day. 

It is expected that every eligible member of this Church marry and live first 
great commandment — "multiplied to replenish the earth" — and that each of the 
contracting parties be true to themselves and to each other — a single standard 
of morality. Their children, and their children's children are taught personal 
cleanliness, and also to keep what we call the "Word of Wisdom," abstaining 
from the use of tobacco, intoxicating liquors, and other harmful beverages. 

They are also taught, especially, to be able to class themselves with the best 
citizens of the country, and to support, in the full sense of the word, the ordi- 
nances and laws of the town, the state, and the country in which they live. The 
authorities of our Church have no advice to give regarding party politics, leav- 
ing the members free to identify themselves with whatever party they choose; 
but in any event, we teach that the present party in power, and the laws gov- 
erning the country, be supported by the members of the church. 

We have our own Church and own convictions concerning what it advocates, 
and we expect to carry our convictions through for the sake of our eternal 
salvation, so long as we do not come in conflict with the fixed laws of the 

Our organizations are kept up, more or less, by free will donations. Consider- 
able amounts of money come in and from America every year and are spent in 
Germany by the missionaries of this Church, which money is spent for their 
traveling, board and living expenses. Not a cent is received by these missionar- 
ies from the mission, but they're supported by themselves or by their parents in 

Our work in this country is headed by an organization called the "Association 
of the German-Austrian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints," consisting of German citizens. It is a registered corporate body like 
any other organization in Germany. 

Now in conclusion, as to your question concerning my attitude as president of 
the mission, let me say that nearly 40 years ago I spent three years here in 
Germany, at which time I learned the language in Berlin and had a splendid 
opportunity throughout the country to become acquainted with the German 
people. Therefore, for nearly 40 years, I have studied this people, and not only 
studied them, but have actually spent six years, all told, in the various cities in 
Germany, and up to the present time I have been a friend and supporter of the 
German people in their righteous endeavors. I have, possibly, seen this country 
at its best and again at its worst. And through it all I can truthfully say that the 
Germans possess a personal pride that is seldom found in other countries. 
They're full of vitality and ambition and are workers of the first class. No mat- 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

ter whether they possess much or little, their personal appearance is kept up to 
the highest degree, clothes pressed, shoes polished, hair combed and all in all, 
those who desire to live the good life are wholesome to look upon. 

Of all the many foreign countries it has been my privilege to visit, give me 
Germany with its activity and high notions of thrift and prosperity. I have 
spent many thousands of Marks for railroad fare alone, and have visited many 
cities time and time again in this beautiful country. I can truthfully say that 
every courtesy has been accorded me by railroad officials, city officials, traffic 
officers, and the citizens of the country generally. I most highly appreciate the 
privilege of spending some time among this great people, representing as I do 
the Church to which I belong in a most worthy cause for the good and benefit 
of mankind, as well as for their moral and spiritual uplift. 

Any detailed information regarding our faith or general attitude will be gladly 

I thank you for the privilege of making the foregoing statement. 
I am 

Respectfully yours, 
Oliver H. Budge 

President of the German-Austrian Mission 
Of the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day 

PS. I am enclosing a number of cards with the 13 Articles of Faith, and two 
copies of our magazine, "Der Stern," no. 2 from the volume for the year 1931, 
and no. 15 from the volume for the year 1933. In the latter number permit me 
to refer you to the article entitled "A Friend of Justice." 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Translation of illustrated article under the title 
"In The Land of the Mormons" 
by President Alfred C. Rees 

Volkischer Beobachter 
Berlin, Germany 
April 14, 1939 

How would you like to live in a city that is 4,300 feet above sea level; that 
nestles in a broad valley, surrounded entirely by rugged, picturesque moun- 
tains, whose tops are covered with eternal snow, a veritable fortress set up by 
Nature, apparently intended to defy invasion either by water, land or sky? 
Such a place is Salt Lake City, capital of the state of Utah, scenic centre of 
America, the renowned gathering place and radiating point of the Mormon 
church; two day's travel from New York, one day from the Pacific Coast. 
As any one of us, who have visited that remarkable city, will testify, it is one 
of the most attractive, beautifully situated cities in all the world; clean, mod- 
ern, pulsating with life and glowing with hospitality; with a history of 
achievement that at once challenges out admiration. 

And what a tragedy lies back of this outstanding accomplishment! Less than 
100 years ago, all that vast, limitless territory, encompassed by the Rocky 
Mountains, was the very symbol of desolation. Little was known of it. Only a 
few venturesome trappers entered that forbidding waste. The silence of centu- 
ries brooded over that region of violent excesses of heat and cold. 
It was in this very valley of threatening starvation and death that a little band 
of people sought refuge in 1847, after they had been persecuted, pillaged, 
plundered and driven from their comfortable homes in Eastern United States 
by mobs of priests and politicians. 

Since there were no railroad connections until the late '60s, those who joined 
the early Mormon forces came by ox-teams and even handcarts. There are still 
men and women living in Utah, who, as girls and boys, covered that entire 
distance on foot, sustained and strengthened in all of their trials and tribula- 
tions by the knowledge that they were escaping the cruel persecutions that had 
been heaped upon them on account of their religious beliefs; and by the hope 
that peace and security awaited them somewhere in the unknown West. 
This bitter, historic experience had produced out of the Mormons a deter- 
mined, practical people, as a result of which, they perhaps, better than many 
other, can appreciate what the German people endured as they passed through 
their hardships. 

Thus the Mormon people know what persecution and suppression mean. And 
the German people, who have gone through the shadow of the valley since the 
World War; and who have been forced to rely upon their own strength and 
determination, and upon their undying belief in their own ability to restore 
their self-respect and their merited place among the mighty in the sisterhood 


International Journal of Mormon Studies 

of nations, reveal that same progressive character, which does not shun obsta- 
cles. For that reason, to a student of Mormonism, recent developments in 
Germany present a most impressive study. 

From the very beginning, the Mormon people took care of their poor. They 
saw to it that the administration of relief was always in local hands, in order to 
limit abuses. They provided for an intimate personal acquaintanceship between 
those who gave and those who received. The result of this system of Mormon 
relief has brought about the total absence of want and suffering among their 
people in every community where the established principles and rules of the 
church are observed. It is upon this deep rooted principle that the Mormon 
church is now carrying out its widely publicized and praised program of self 
help at a time when ten million Americans are jobless and idle, due to a depar- 
ture from America's traditional economic, industrial system. 
In order to produce a sound body, Mormons have advocated and practiced, 
since 1830, what they call the "Word of Wisdom", which calls fro the total 
abstinence from the use of tobacco, alcohol, tea, coffee, and for the sparing use 
of meat. Statistics in the United States show that, as a result of close adherence 
to this formula, the Mormon people are freer from contagious and hereditary 
diseases, than any other people in the United States; and, in fact, the world. 
That is why the Mormon people, perhaps, more than any other people in all the 
world, pay high tribute to the German government for its bold declaration of 
war against the use of alcohol and tobacco by the youth of Germany. 
Mormon people are proverbially practical believers, not only in the sanctity of 
the home, but also in large families. They are unalterably opposed to birth 
control, which they view as a contributing factor to the destruction of any race. 
The industry of men and women throughout Germany is a reminder of the 
proverbial attitude of the Mormon people toward work. It was Brigham Young 
who announced that the loafer should not eat the bread of the worker. In fact, 
the coat of arms of Utah is the beehive, indicative of the industry and coopera- 
tive spirit of the people. 

Perhaps the outstanding financial system of the world for the maintenance of a 
religious organization is to be found in Mormonism: It is their Tithing System. 
A true, faithful Mormon pays to the church one-tenth of his total income for 
the upkeep of the church and its institutions. This has placed the church on a 
sound financial basis, and has made possible its remarkable expansion, growth 
and development and operation of its far flung educational and social institu- 
tions, all conducted under church supervision; also in the erection and 
maintenance of commodious places of worship, which dot and beautify the 
entire length and breadth of the land, in which the church has a following. 
Here is the application of the German ideal: Community welfare before per- 
sonal welfare. Mormons are practical exponents of that wholesome doctrine. 
Among these institutions of learning of which the Mormon church is espe- 
cially proud, is the Brigham Young University, located in Provo, about a two 
hour's drive from Salt Lake City. That institution was established under the 
direction of a distinguished German, Dr. Karl G. Maeser, who was born in 

The Rise of Nazi Dictatorship 


Meissen, Saxony, joined the Mormon faith, came to Utah, and was charged by 
Brigham Young with the responsibility of establishing that institution. 
The Mormon church makes the unique claim of having been established by 
direct revelation from God, through the instrumentality of a young man by the 
name of Joseph Smith, who, though unlettered and untutored, laid down prin- 
ciples of conduct in the realm of religion; announced truths in the field of 
general science; and gave to the world a philosophy of life, that challenge the 
thinking of every unbiased mind. 

Among the Mormons who have make notable contributions to world thought 
is also J. Reuben Clark Jr., a member of the First Presidency of the Mormon 
church. He is an acknowledged diplomat, was United States Ambassador to 
Mexico, and today is the head of the Foreign Bondholders Association, which 
represents not only the United States government, but all Americans who hold 
securities of foreign countries. Mr. Clark is a frequent visitor to Berlin. 
Perhaps the persistent driving force and the unfailing courage of the Mormon 
people find explanation in their belief that man is immortal; that he lives be- 
yond the grave; that he continues in his program of eternal progression; that 
divinity and complete mastery over all forces is his goal and destiny. In fact, 
their belief is crystallized thus; "As God now is, man may become." Mormon- 
ism sees in God a personal, living Being.